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Recently my good Friend Kirk Manzo, a great sales and F&I trainer sent me these pictures. These are from a 2005 article in Dealer Magazine or someplace like that, I honestly don’t remember where this article ran. Apparently Kirk was training in a dealership in Florida and the dealer had this Poem blown up an posted on the walls of the dealership. I am honored and flattered that anyone would do that with something I wrote and thought it might be something to share here. See below, I always love the feedback on things like this so please comment. Thanks:
THE AMERICAN CAR SALESMAN
He walks with confidence and takes offense at direction.
He cannot be left on his own, yet his spirit will not be dominated.
He is free enterprise personified.
The American automobile salesman laughs in the face of affirmative action. He is one of the few workers in society who is paid exactly what he is worth.
While the average person views an hourly wage as security, he disdains it as unnecessary limit on his ability to produce.
He believes free enterprise was created with him in mind.
He has the instinct of the hunter, coupled with great compassion and kindness. He speaks eloquently and detects the most innocent untruth from his customers.
He would never bow his knee to any king or queen, but has the uncanny ability to treat his customers like royalty.
He is uniquely talented, endowed with savvy that cannot be taught in a classroom.
His spirit is what America was built on.
He is a loner who has difficulty walking in step with others, yet he gravitates towards those who are like him.
He is intensely competitive, nevertheless quick to give a helping hand to a struggling brother.
He is a dealer’s biggest liability, yet he is that same merchant’s greatest asset.
Some elements of society would like to eliminate him, but have found him to be indestructible.
Without his personality, his smile, his spirit, there would be a giant void in America.
This is what I hope every dealer thinks of when they think of the professional automotive salesperson and while it is very true that it takes a very special individual to be an automotive salesperson I think that many of us in the business have come to believe that our salespeople are just born with the ability to sell cars…not true.
In my 20 years in the automotive business I have seen many salespeople with the sprit described above and with out the proper tools and training go by the way side, I shutter to think of all the potentially great car salespeople in business today that will never be because of that lack of training & tools. I see dealerships every day spend thousands on advertising to drive traffic to their store only to have the customers ran off by an untrained salesperson and with no record of the customers visit at all, this is a tragedy and one that will stop soon.
As of September we are on pace to sell 16.2 million units this year down well over 1 million from last year, I think the 16.2 million is too high and would not be surprised to see that number fall below 16 million. No matter what the number is, bottom line there are and will continue to be fewer customers, those customers will be more educated have more name plate choices and will demand that you give them a higher level of service. All of this equates to a higher caliber of salesperson as a necessity not a luxury. The training & tools you give your salespeople to provide higher levels of service to your customers has to be on the very top of your priority list.
As one of the smartest dealers I ever worked for put it “Good habits are created in bad times and bad habits are created in good times” and the good news is for those dealers who weather these bad times you will have a better sales staff, higher profits and you will no longer be a slave to the market as you will have put the processes and tools in place to get the job done. That is where this starts with processes, we as an industry are going to have to look at our processes and not just those processes that happen when a salesperson is with a customer but more importantly what they are doing for the 5 hours a day when they are not with a customer. Here is where the proper tools come in, using the wonders of technology you can help your salespeople manage their day like never before, with great processes ordinary people produce incredible results but these processes don’t just happen they are built through diligence and hard work, they do not come from a software but they can be managed by software, you as a dealer can and will do these things, you will train your sales staff and you will be better off for it. It is going to be hard but as we say in this business “if it was easy everybody would do it”.
What it comes down to my fellow car people is that we are in a long over due coarse correction, it’s a good thing and will eliminate the imposters from our industry, but if you hold on to the last 6 years hoping it will come back it will eliminate you too. It is time to change the way we think and understand that good training and good tools will attract better people and will create some of the greatest car salespeople ever…l truly believe that and you need to too.